We’ve spent quite a bit of time on Project Scarlett, our 1972 coupe project car, converting her from a mild cruiser into a track-capable, 600+ horsepower beast. In order to keep the car relatively comfortable to drive on the street we’ve added Vintage Air, seat heaters for our Corbeau A4s, electric windows and now electric door locks. While we’re pairing the locks with a remote entry and security system (which we won’t detail in print for obvious reasons), the system can be installed for convenience alone, and controlled with a simple toggle switch without the need for anything more extensive.
The kit was sourced from Petris Enterprises, which has long installed electric locks as an option on customer cars, but only recently began to offer a separate kit for sale. If the name Petris sounds familiar, it should: an ASE Master Certified Technician for over 20 years, Chris Petris is a well-known Corvette writer and has authored books on both mid-year and C3 restoration.
You’ll start by removing both door panels and kick panels, and whatever console piece to which you choose to mount the operating switch. The system works by mounting an electric actuator to the window regulator access panel located on the lower portion of each door. Since the steel access panel serves as the foundation against which the actuator works, it stands to reason that the screw holes on the door panel onto which it mounts must be in good shape. If they aren’t, you’ll need to do some remedial work to repair them. Now is a good time to mention that it may be hard to do this installation without doing a complete restoration of the door mechanism. No matter the condition of the access panel, expect the lock rods to be in sorry shape and the various mechanisms to be full of 40+ years’ worth of hardened grease and debris. It’s hard to put it all back together like that without cleaning, repairing or replacing it all.
In our case, the driver-side access panel was in good shape, but the passenger-side was missing entirely, as were some of the bolts that should have held the panel in, so we’ll be purchasing new bolts from Corvette Central. We also went ahead and bead-blasted the panel and repainted it, but we found the factory paint was difficult to strip, even with the blaster, so if you plan to do it by hand with sandpaper set aside a good amount of time and get ready for hand cramps. Likewise, drilling the holes took some effort and nearly cooked our drill bit, but persistence gets it done.
The wiring is routed almost identically to the electric window harness we previously added, both plugging into the main fuse block and being routed through rubber conduit that goes between the door and birdcage in the hinge area. While we illustrated the harness plugged into the fuse block, as it’s by far the simplest installation, it makes more sense for us to plug the harness into one of the auxiliary fuse boxes we added beneath the parking brake console. We also chose to add a ground position on the birdcage rather than reusing the factory ground screw, which we’re probably close to overloading anyway.
Once the mechanical work is done and the wires run, to operate the locks with a simple switch you’ll first need a source of 12v power that should be fused at 3 amps (inline fuse holders are helpful for this sort of installation for those who aren’t eager to spend hours fashioning their own wiring harnesses and fuse blocks). The switch should be a momentary switch with two “on” positions. These are usually described by sources such as Waytek or Mouser as (ON)-OFF-(ON), with the parentheses indicating momentary activation rather than a switch that stays on when moved to that position. There are many, many options, from toggles to rockers, so choose whatever fits the aesthetics of your interior. Since Scarlett has been inspired by period race cars, we’re using a chrome toggle switch in addition to using the security system to control the door locks.
And with that, at long last it’s time to consign Scarlett to the deep hibernation we call paint jail. We hope you’ve enjoyed the project as much as we have, and we’ll look forward to seeing you out there. Vette
Photos by Jeremy D. Clough
Catch up on the rest of Project Scarlett:
1972 Corvette Gets Rearend Upgrade
Window Replacement for 1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car
Max Stop for C3 Vettes
QA1 Adjustable Shocks for Corvettes: 1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car
Adding Heated Seats to Your Corbeau Equipped Vette
Adding a Custom Rollbar to the 1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car
How to Upgrade a C3 Corvette to LED’s: 1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car
Building Street Shop's Chassis for our 1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car
How to Convert a C3 Corvette to Electric Windows: 1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car
A Different Way to Route Engine Wiring Through the Firewall on a 1972 Corvette
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - C3 Column Rebuild
Wiring in Accessories Into Our 1972 Corvette Project Car
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Taming the Rat's Nest
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Dash Prep and Radio Installation
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Dash Wiring Harness Installation
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Dash and Gauge Installation
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Replacing the Factory Wiring Harness
1972 Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Vintage Air Gen 4 Underdash Components
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Cooling System and Hydroboost
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Scarlett Project Car - EFI Fuel System
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Six-Speed Manual
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Scarlett Project Car - Sidepipe Install
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Scarlett Project Car - LS3 416 Installation
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Project Car - Powertrain Swap Preparation
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Project Car - Seat Install, Part 2
1972 Chevrolet Corvette Project Car - Seat Install, Part 1